In the field below enter the email address where you received the invitation letter.
Please enter a valid email addressSet & Continue
TEACCH began at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972 under the direction of the late psychologist, Dr. Eric Schopler. TEACCH now includes seven centers in North Carolina that provide diagnostic evaluations, parent training, and social and support groups. TEACCH also operates model early intervention and supported employment programs and a residential/vocational program, as well as providing individual consultations and professional training workshops nationally and internationally.
TEACCH developed the concept of the “Culture of Autism” to convey the idea that like cultures, autism spectrum disorders yield characteristic patterns of learning, thinking, communicating, and behaving. TEACCH proposes that teachers, parents, and therapists can function as “cross-cultural interpreters” who use specialized strategies to work back and forth between the expectations of the neuro-typical world and the ways individuals with autism understand and communicate.
Features of the Culture of Autism include:
The overall TEACCH approach is called “Structured TEACCHing.” The fundamental principles of Structured TEACCHing are:
Structured TEACCHing suggests that for teaching new skills or to minimize behavioral difficulties in situations, visual answers should be provided for the following questions:
For young and beginning learners, typical techniques for answering ‘where’ include defining learning spaces through furniture placement and blocking out sources of distraction. For older and more abstract thinking individuals, it is often useful to provide visual guidance (or options) about where to sit, where to put possessions, and how to get from place to place in the school or work setting. Techniques for showing ‘what’ involve visual or written directions (often accompanied with brief verbal directions) about the steps in an activity and the sequence of activities to be completed. Possible techniques for showing ‘how much’ or ‘how long’ include 1) having materials organized into containers that become emptier as the activity moves toward completion; 2) having a list of activities that are checked off or removed as they are completed; 3) using a visual timer that provides information about the passage of time and arrival of the end of the activity. Consistent with these techniques, ‘finished’ is shown by empty containers of materials, a completed checklist, or a visual and/or auditory cue from a timer or clock. When activities are completed, there is typically a visual cue for guiding the individual to look back to the schedule to find the next activity.
Structured TEACCHing is appropriate for individuals with ASD at all ages and functioning levels, because the general principles are applied flexibly for each individual. That is, visual answers to these questions for a young or developmentally delayed child would look very different from those for a high school student or adult with average intelligence, but the general principles of using visual or written supports to organize time and space would still apply.
Structured TEACCHing can help individuals with ASD learn new skills or participate appropriately in any setting, including but not limited to
Evidence-Based research on TEACCH:
Comparative efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and non-model-specific special education programs for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders.1 This study compares three programs for children with ASD under age five. The first approach, TEACCH, is based on the “culture of autism” and cognitive-social learning theory. TEACCH involves changes to the environment such as visual schedules, work areas, and organizational systems to promote learning. The second approach, LEAP (Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents) is based on a combination of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and common aspects of early childhood education, with a goal of reducing symptoms of autism that interfere with learning. One important difference is that TEACCH often educates children with ASD in a separate classroom away from typically developing peers, while LEAP uses an inclusive educational approach. These two approaches were compared with the third approach of non-specific special education. According to the researchers, the third approach “did not use practices aligned with any particular theoretical or conceptual model.”The study took place in public schools in four U.S. states. One hundred ninety eight children between age three and five years were randomized to one of the three programs. Communication skills, sensory and repetitive behaviors, social interaction and fine motor skills were measured at baseline and at the end of a year. All three programs were found to produce statistically improvements in child outcomes, but no important differences in outcomes by program.
1 Boyd BA, Hume K, McBee MT, et al. Comparative efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and non-model-specific special education programs for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. Feb 2014;44(2):366-380.